Playoffs Conference Finals Preview: what you need to know
Just four teams left
We’re down to the last four in the USL Championship. We’ve adjusted the seeding to reflect who stands where with regard to hosting the USL Cup. Note however that both games are the conference #1 against the conference #3.
Louisville City (#2) v. Tampa Bay Rowdies (#3), Saturday 6:30pm
The Riverhounds nearly got a surprise win over Lou City last week, going up 2-0 early before the hosts got their heads in the game and took it to penalties. Tampa Bay were dominated by Memphis until well into second half stoppage time in a game neither team seemed in a hurry to win. They traded penalties in regulation time, but only Tampa scored. So we have two teams here that are coming off performances of far less quality than they usually provide. I’m going to strick my neck and predict a Tampa victory. on the road.
San Antonio (#1) v. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (#4), Sunday 7:30pm
San Antonio rolled easily over Oakland 3-0 in the semifinals; the Switchbacks earned a tough 2-1 win against Sacramento. Colorado is the lowest seed left, so cannot host the USL Cup, but I don’t think that’s going to matter. Of the four teams left, the Switchbacks allowed the most goals in the regular season (53, 20 more than any of the other 3). They did score more goals than San Antonio (59 v. 54), but the Texans are not known for high voltage attack. They won both previous meetings this season 1-0 and will likely add a third win.
Back in the Old Country
The Blues had a good week, beating then second-place QPR 2-0 over the weekend, followed by a somewhat tedious 0-0 against then 6th-place Millwall Wednesday. Both opponents dropped in the table, but Birmingham City has crept up to 13th. There’s no game this weekend. The next game is against Swansea next Tuesday (1:45pm, no ESPN+ stream), followed quickly by a Friday game with Sunderland (2:00pm, ESPN+). Swansea are 7th, so the tough stretch of games isn’t quite over yet. Sunderland are one place above the Blues, but only on goal difference. Both big games.